Wednesday 16 October 2019

Solskjaer appointed as Manchester United’s permanent manager

Norwegian has won 14 of his 19 games in charge.

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the press conference at Aon Training Complex, Manchester.
Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the press conference at Aon Training Complex, Manchester.

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer

Manchester United have handed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a three-year contract to make him their manager on a permanent basis.

The move has seemed inevitable for many weeks given the transformation United have undergone since Solskjaer arrived on a caretaker basis following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December.

Solksjaer has won 14 of his 19 games in charge, reviving hopes of a top-four finish and unexpectedly guiding United to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Solskjaer, who scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United, was already a hero to fans as the man who scored the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final to complete the treble.

And it is some of the those late-game heroics that Solskjaer has restored to United’s play, most notably with Marcus Rashford’s last-minute penalty securing their Champions League win over Paris St Germain at the start of the month.

After Mourinho was sacked following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool on December 16 Solskjaer initially arrived from Molde ‘on loan’ until the end of the season.

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How Solskjaer and Mourinho’s United records compare (PA Graphics)

The Norwegian club had been adamant he would return to his job there with United poised to look elsewhere for a permanent boss, but Solskjaer’s results were impossible to ignore and former players have been queuing up to call for his appointment.

“From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club,” said Solskjaer.

“It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here. The last few months have been a fantastic experience and I want to thank all of the coaches, players and staff for the work we’ve done so far.

“This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long-term and hopefully deliver the continued success that our amazing fans deserve.”

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “Since coming in as caretaker manager in December, the results Ole has delivered speak for themselves.

“More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club.

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Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has described Solskjaer as ‘the right man to take the club forward’ (Martin Rickett/PA)

“This all means that he is the right person to take Manchester United forward. I want to thank Ole and the coaching team for everything they have done so far and congratulate him on this richly-deserved appointment.

“The fans and everyone at the club are behind him as he looks to take us where we need to be and build the next stage of our history.”

United sources say there will be a “gesture of goodwill” to Norwegian club Molde, who Solskjaer had been due to return to as manager in the summer.

But the Old Trafford hierarchy had seen enough from the 46-year-old to act immediately, feeling it the right thing to do given he was the man they wanted for footballing reasons, not merely due to fan popularity.

Pleased by the way the Norwegian has connected to the club’s culture, as well as his results, man management and approachable style, Solskjaer has helped transform the club in a short period.

Assistant Mike Phelan has also been key to United’s resurgence and is expected to stay.

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Mike Phelan has been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s right-hand man at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Press Association Sport understands he has spent much of the international break in Australia, where Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right-hand man works as sporting director of A-League side Central Coast Mariners.

United stars past and present were quick to welcome the news.

Rashford posted an image of himself and Solskjaer on Instagram with the caption: “Congrats boss.”

View this post on Instagram

Congrats boss 👊🏾

A post shared by Marcus Rashford (@marcusrashford) on

Solskjaer’s former United team-mate Gary Neville wrote on Twitter: “I’m delighted for Ole. I didn’t think this would happen when he was appointed.

“However the results and spirit in the club have been incredible since he arrived and he deserves it. He now needs support in the transfer market in terms of finance and the right resource!”

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand added on his Twitter account: “Yessss Ole is officially at The Wheel… Signed, Sealed, Delivered! Manager of @ManUtd! I hope my Thank You is in post Ole.”

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